jetBlue has become the latest U.S. airline to offer a $1,000 one-time bonus on the back of recent tax reforms passed by the Trump Administration. In a statement, jetBlue said all 21,000 employees, which it calls ‘crewmembers’ would receive the payout by the end of February. Although the airline’s chief executive and executive vice president’s won’t be benefiting.
In an open letter to his crewmembers, the airline’s CEO Robin Hayes said he believes the “tax changes will be positive for our company and provide us the opportunity to do good things for our Crewmembers, Customers and shareholders.”
Hayes went on to say that the airline had formed a team late last year to discuss what the impending tax reforms would mean for its business – including staff. While Hayes says: “We believe our Crewmembers should be the first to benefit,” it does seem rather strange that the only idea they’ve come with is to copy of what several other airlines including American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have already done.
It comes at a particularly crucial time for relations between management and flight attendants at the airline. Last month, the Transport Workers Union filed signatures with the National Mediation Board from jetBlue cabin crew who want a union fighting their corner.
The application required the TWU to submit union authorization cards from over 50% of JetBlue’s 5,000 serving flight attendants and is now being decided upon by the NMB. If given the greenlight, the TWU will be able to hold a formal election on whether the airline’s flight attendants want official union representation.
“JetBlue flight attendants have come to the realization that the company does not have their best interests in mind,” John Samuelsen, the TWU’s international president was reported as saying at the time.
— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) December 6, 2017
“They have come to the right place, because TWU will win this election and will strategically engage JetBlue to win a solid contract. The company is more interested in making profits off the backs of its workers than in rewarding them for making it the extremely successful company that it is.”
In his letter to staff, Hayes said the airline would be working on other ideas to use the tax reform benefits on – whether or not this will be used to improve the contacts of jetBlue staff is yet to be seen.
jetBlue operates 1,000 daily flights with a fleet 246 aircraft – mainly Airbus A320 and A321’s. Last year, the airline carried over 38 million passengers, operating to around 100 destinations. As New York City’s self-proclaimed ‘home airline’, jetBlue has been particularly hard hit by winter storms impacting the North Eastern United States.
jetBlue cancelled 582 flights on Thursday and at the time of publication, over 179 flights were cancelled Friday, with a further 292 delayed.